House building in Wakefield at its highest level in a decade

House building activity in Wakefield is at its highest level for a decade, official figures reveal.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 3:04 pm
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 1:36 am

Industry experts forecast the upward trend will continue, but warned that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit may impact demand for new homes.

The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows that 1,410 houses were completed in the nine months to September 2018, the highest figure since 2008.

This is 8.4615% higher than in 2017, when 1,300 new builds were put on the market.

This data only includes new homes, and doesn’t take into account conversions of houses into flats or changes of use from office to dwelling.

In Wakefield, private developers funded 89% of all new homes. Housing associations paid for the rest.

Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said the government needed to increase its efforts to meet its target of 300,000 new homes a year.

She said: “The fact housebuilding rates have picked up since the start of the decade is a welcome sign, but the government still needs to make giant strides.

“To achieve this, it simply cannot rely on private developers alone – building social homes must be top of the agenda.”

Alongside completed properties, building started on a further 1,060 homes between January and September 2018, down from 1,340 during the same period in 2017.

Nationally, new home completions were also at their highest in a decade, with 116,670 built and 130,010 started.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, put the rising number of home completions down to the government improving conditions for house builders.

He said: “Successive governments have helped create a much more positive policy environment, that has allowed the industry to invest with confidence in the people and land needed to build more homes.

“All indicators suggest we will see further increases in output and planning permission for new homes.

“Unlike the second hand market, new home sales have generally remained resilient to the ongoing uncertainty, but clearly demand for new homes is reliant on a level of economic stability.”

Nationally, house building has mostly decreased since the 1960s. The early part of this decade saw house building at its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s.